Harris led Delta State to three consecutive 1975-1977 National Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Championships.
While in Delta State, women’s basketball was introduced to the Olympics in 1976. Harris was selected to the team and had the honor of being the first woman to score a basket in the competition’s first match. The United States won the silver medal that year.
After her collegiate career, the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz, which began playing in 1974 and would later move to Utah, selected her in the seventh round of the 1977 NBA Draft.
Still, Harris rejected the offer from Jazz, which was keen to start a family.
“NBA, I do not regret that I did not go. Not a little bit,” she said.
Harris is still Delta State’s career record holder in points (2,891) and rebounds (1,662), the university said.
“The past few months have brought Mrs. Harris great joy, including the news of the forthcoming wedding of her youngest son and the great recognition received by a recent documentary that brought worldwide attention to her story,” her family said in the statement.
“She will be remembered for her charity, for her achievements both on and off the field, and the light she brought to her community, the state of Mississippi, her country as the first woman ever to score a basket in the Olympics, and to women who play basketball around the world. “
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.